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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Stories Connect Us All

Today I would like to bring you a wonderful little gift from the world of storytelling: Let me tell you about the Stories Connect Us All project and Online Storytelling Festival!

The Fairy Godmother of the whole thing is Chicago storyteller Susan O'Halloran. She has been working with stories of diversity and cultural pluralism for a long time, and she poured her wonderful heart and soul into the project. What Stories Connect Us All is about is simple: Susan gathers storytellers who have something to say, she records them telling their tales to the camera, and then she makes the stories available. To everyone. To you. Free of charge. This wonderful collection of some of the best storytellers near and far exists for a very, very important purpose:

To tell us about diversity.

All the stories are personal stories (although a lot of them also have to do with larger events in history). Storytellers talk about their own experiences with culture, ethnicity, diversity, race, and prejudice in the USA. Many storytellers come from many different backgrounds, and their tales make a mosaic of story that reflects the amazing diversity of the USA, and the diversity that surrounds us everywhere we go in the world.
During the storytelling festival, a new video is posted online every hour, and they are made available for comments and discussion on Facebook as well.

You know what else is great about this? The videos are all online, all the time, and they make wonderful teaching tools! I use them myself quite often in my Cultural Pluralism class. Whether we are discussing civil rights, First Nations history, inter-cultural relationships, or cultural holidays, there is always something useful to find in the project. Students respond very well to stories, especially if they are personal stories from people with first hand experience.
In order to make the teaching experience even better, they also come with a great website that includes tons of information, classroom activities, teaching materials, and of course, stories.

At the start of the school year, I wanted to put this information here in case the teachers and educators among you are looking for new tales to bring to the classroom!

You can find Csenge (@TarkabarkaHolgy) at
The Multicolored Diary - Adventures in Storytelling
MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians

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